Over the last few months, Norman clergy and law enforcement have been gathering to discuss the state of our community. NPD’s Chief Keith Humphrey and other law enforcement leaders have been wonderful as we discuss the role of cultural diversity and the importance of community policing. Clergy have been able to communicate to law enforcement some of the concerns heard within congressional conversations, as well as provide much needed support and encouragement to the brave men and women who patrol our neighborhoods.
In addition, law enforcement has been able to educate clergy about their efforts to incorporate community policing in Norman. The clergy have learned a lot about police tactics, some that even seem “rude” to citizens but are very important for the safety of officers and citizens. While learning about each other in these conversations, the most important development has been the humanization of the other. When law enforcement and the community begin to converse with one another and develop relationships, community begins to emerge as we discover we are more alike than different.
During our last meeting, Chief Humphrey made a statement that caused a hush to fall over the room, “I just wish every city in America realized we are one incident away from our city being the next Ferguson.” In this one sentence, the Chief summed up the reason we have been convening over the last few months. Clergy and law enforcement leaders acknowledge the complexities and depth of the issues we are facing. We cannot solve these issues in one set of meetings. However, we can begin to work towards a more beloved community.
Clergy and law enforcement want to offer an opportunity to address these issues before another incident arises. If our efforts are successful, we may even be able to prevent incidents like we have seen across the country from developing in our community. Therefore, in conjunction with The Xenia Institute for Social Justice, we would like to invite you to an evening that hopes to begin connecting law enforcement and community. The meeting is October 10th, 7:00 PM, at First Presbyterian Church of Norman (555 S. University, Norman, OK, 73069).
Speakers for the event include Norman Mayor, Lynne Miller; Norman Police Chief, Keith Humphrey, Assistant Director for LGBTQ Program (OU), Kasey Catlett; and Special Assistant to the Vice President (OU), D’Andrea Fisher. The event is open to the public, so please plan on attending. Let’s come together as we all seek to make Norman a more perfect community where peace and prosperity can live within all of our citizens.